Locally grown, organic vegetables inspire me. They feed me both physically and artistically. And, best of all, I know that I am supporting farmers who are on the front lines of improving our sustainability. *
I really enjoyed the range of greens in this painting, which are all mixed. The painting begins with a cobalt blue and winsor lemon, continues with a prussian blue and winsor lemon, then ends with Prussian blue and indian yellow. All relatively transparent mixtures.
Like several other vegetable paintings I've done in the past year, this head of lettuce came from the Pennypack Farm and Education Center last summer. I've recently prepared for the 2018 growing season by buying into the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. I'm looking forward to the variety and quality of produce they grow and I plan to continue this series of paintings. :)
*Notably, organic farmers are supporting our declining bee populations by not using neonicotinoid pesticides, or seeds treated by this noxious chemical which has become too common in the conventional agricultural market. Organic veggies support bees, and who doesn't love bees?
This chance encounter exhibits many personal layers.
The first one is the choice I made to climb very high in this tree at four years old. I recently found a photo dated AUG 1979 and it shocked me how young I was way up there (though the bowl cut should have given that away!) Today, as a parent this makes me very nervous, but back then I had no fear and apparently some strong climbing skills.
My choice to have that cute (huge) little bee in the image has more to do with a fascination I honestly developed as an adult. As a child I was as freaked out as the next kid about yellow jackets, but I wonder if I would have warmed up to a nice chunky, slow-flying bumble bee.
The two together fit a prompt that I decided to follow for a monthly online gallery hosted by SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, called Draw This. (The link currently shows last month's gallery which I am in.) This month's prompt is "surprise."
The weather here in Elkins Park, Pa on Sunday, February 19th drew me, everyone else and their 10 best friends out of doors. I took my kids to Morris Arboretum, knowing that I'd see some early spring flowers like this Eranthis, but what I did not expect was to see this bee!
Oh, pure joy!
Back to Aesop. Today I played around with a composition for Jupiter and the Bee that I used for a woodcut print a few years ago. In fact, if you google "Jupiter and the Bee" you will see it because someone used it in a blog post that apparently gets a lot of hits. Now, he didn't ask for my permission, but he did put my name on my work which I appreciate.
The story. A little bee is tired of others stealing her honey. She brings Jupiter a gift of some honey, then Jupiter asks, "What can I do for you, little bee?" The little bee says that if only she had a stinger, she could protect her honey herself. Juno steps in and Jupiter agrees that there should be a cost. Juno suggests that if the stinger is used, the bee must pay for the act with its life. Each bee must choose - protect the hive and die, or share the honey.
The moral. Be careful what you wish for.
A telling lesson in this age of protectionism we've just entered.
After dressing up as a bee for a costume party this weekend, it's only natural that I am now back on the subject... When I first put on the costume I started acting like a bee with a surprising amount of accuracy and detail. Just ask my children/flowers. I thoroughly embarrassed my husband but he proceeded to share the video he took with friends.
Quentin Blake, the amazing illustrator, apparently acts out his characters before he draws them. I can now say that I think the method works!
This is the start to a series of small bee watercolor paintings (all 3 x 3 inches) that I began this week in preparation for a few upcoming shows in June (Sweet Mabel in Narberth & Arts in the Park in Elkins Park on June 5).
So here I am, nearly a half year into this "one a week" project, and a few days away from a reception at my first solo show at Elcy's Cafe (@ the Glenside Train Station)...see details here. I'm nervous, excited, and of course, busy.
"Queen's Hive" shows a hive and its queen laying a few of the 1,600 eggs she will lay on a given day. Wow! Maybe I'm not so busy compared to her! Thank you to Briar Bush Nature Center for having a demonstration hive for me to look into back in 2013 when I took my reference photo.
This watercolor painting is 13 x 13 inches and is one of the central pieces of the show at Elcy's. I hope you can come by to see it in person!
Bees have a small wing size to body ratio. In fact, a common myth based on this information states that bees should not be able to fly. The truth is... they need to work harder than most insects in order to fly... they are bees after all! Work is their thing! To compensate they flap their wings a shorter span (90 degrees instead of 165) and more times per second (about 240 versus 200).
I drew this big bottomed lady from a photo taken in my garden during the summer. I'm exploring images for a body of larger watercolor paintings and the bees are, yet again, my muse.
The hive, honey, and bee dancing guide my experimentation in this inaugural week of 2016. It feels good to play!
I pulled out my Winsor & Newton professional grade watercolor paints, found a great new palette and cleaned out my studio enough to make space to allow for this mixed media piece. In the new year I am rededicating my work space with my next set of goals in mind. I elected a Board of Advisors: Mary Cassatt, Charles Santore, Rachel Carson, John Singer Sargent, David Wiesner, and Toni Morrison. I made a collage of their portraits to consult as needed. Who would you put on your Board?
"Honey Dance" is a 6 x 6 inch watercolor painting layered with translucent paper and sewn.
Is honey a by-product of rainbows? Aristotle may not have known present day science about honey production, but I do think that he was on to something when he made the hypothesis that honey precipitated from the air when rainbows descended.
(Reference: A Short History of the Honey Bee by E. Readicker-Henderson, 2009.)
"Bee balm" is an archival giclée print on high quality fine art paper that I had made from a high resolution scan of a watercolor I painted. It is 5 x 5 inches and is a part of an edition of 35 that I am looking to move out into the world! If you would like one for yourself or a loved one, it's yours this week for $15! Email me or comment on this post by Tues, Dec. 22nd. Free Shipping!!!
Another week already?
Compared to posting daily, weekly postings feel like a return home after a long journey. Maybe that is why I've been choosing to stay with a more cohesive set of images.
"Zinnia" is 3 x 3 inches. I hand printed an edition of 10 on Mulberry paper. Contact me if you would like to purchase one.
A note about Instagram. I am new to it and I took a long time to join in. By posting these images there I've been connecting with other bee people, including an Australian bee lover who posted a video of a bee on a flower taken yesterday. Genius! While our bees are hibernating, I'll just watch some southern hemisphere bees! Thank you savethebeesaustrailia! (Click the link to see the video.)